When my youngest was little, we took her up the St. Louis Arch. I was excited to have my youngest join me for this notorious St. Louis excursion, and when we entered the cart that makes the slow trek up the steel structure, with excitement I said, “Are you ready?” And then she screamed.
I attempted to reassure my daughter, who listened to absolutely none of my comforting words, and then resorted to lollipops and singing. But none of my tricks removed the panic…until we got to the top. With the snap of a finger, all was well again, and she couldn’t get enough of the people below who “looked like ants.”
When we visited the arch again several years later, my tween girl seemed a little nervous about the impending cart ride. So, I reminded her multiple times of the fact that she made it up fine the last time, and that she loved the experience once at the top. Remember how much you liked it? Remember? But apparently, she did not because when we entered the cart, she screamed.
She was fine once at the top, and while she admired the incredible view, she said, “Mom, next time just remind me that the ride is not so bad.”
The Red Sea Road
In the book of Exodus, the Israelites also struggled to remember how they had been brought through a great trial. In chapter 14, God’s people are pursued by Pharaoh and his army. And this was not a small group chasing them; we’re told Pharaoh had his horses, chariots, horseman, his entire army. Understandably, the Israelites were exceedingly afraid!
But the Lord provided a way. Moses stretched out his hand and God drove back the sea, so the Israelites were able to cross over on dry ground. I can’t imagine how spectacular this must have been! The Israelites were free from their oppressors. The miracle caused them to sing and dance in praise to God. What other response is there? They saw first-hand God’s provision for them, and yet, just two chapters later, they forgot. They forgot His goodness and they grumble and complain and worry as they wander in the desert. “It would have been better that we died in Egypt,” they say to Moses right before the Lord showed them His goodness yet again.
How quickly they forgot the Red Sea Road. But we’re not so different from these Israelites. When we enter a time of restoration, the ways in which the Lord showed His goodness through a trial may remain on the forefront of our mind for a time, but with the onset of a new trial, whether it be a medical scare, a challenge with a child, or even the loss of a job, we forget God’s goodness. Instead, we panic and doubt whether we will make it through.
Why We Remember the Red Sea Road
The challenge for us as believers is to remember the times the Lord led us through the Red Sea Road—the times He showed us His goodness in the midst of trials. And why is this important? Because remembering God’s faithfulness and goodness in the past helps us face trials in the present and those we fear in the future. God is not only good to us in certain moments or seasons of life, but He is good all the time. He is our refuge and strength all the time (Psalm 46), He is our peace provider all the time (Philippians 4), and He loves immeasurably all the time (Ephesians 3).
My father was sick for several years when I was in my early twenties. During this time, our church community reached out in unforgettable ways. I received comforting phone calls that provided peace and assurance; our family received meals that showed love and support, and I have letters saved from sisters in Christ who encouraged my heart while I watched my dad battle cancer. And when my mother became sick with an incurable disease ten years later, I remembered the ways in which God provided comfort through His people in the past. Recalling these details helped me remember that in this new and unexpected trial, the Lord would provide.
Remember the Red Sea Road because God is good…all the time.
How We Remember the Red Sea Road
We are forgetful people, so how do we remember the Red Sea Road when faced with new trials? Here are two practical ways to help recall God’s goodness:
Taste and See
Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” I saw lots of freshly baked sourdough bread during quarantine— beautiful perfectly baked loaves. Seeing the bread is wonderful, but tasting the bread takes our sensations to a whole new level. I remember tasty bread not because I’ve seen it, but because I’ve tasted it. When we taste something, we use almost all of our senses.
In the same way, we need to remember with detail the ways in which God was good to us in the midst of past trials. Recall His kindness and protection using all of your senses, and then tell someone about the experience or write down the ways in which God revealed His power in the unimaginable. How did His revelation change the way you felt, the way you moved about your day, or even the way you chose to view your pain? This will help you remember His goodness in the next trial you face.
Find an Ebenezer
Remembering with detail often involves an Ebenezer, something tangible that represents the way the Lord provided. I have notes in my Bible from dear friends and prayers I wrote out during the two seasons in which my parents were sick. Though these events occurred years ago, when I open my Bible today and come these notes, they serve as reminders of how the Lord answered a fervent prayer or how He sent a sister to encourage me. And then I remember that He has not stopped showing His goodness; I know He will continue to reveal Himself when I am challenged again.
Remember the Red Sea Road. God is good all the time. Know that goodness intimately so you might remember, whether in times of joy or pain, the ways in which the Lord graciously provided for your needs.
About the Author:
Katie is wife to Chris, a PCA pastor at Trinity church in Kirkwood, MO, and together they have three children, Ella, J-Rod, and Lily. Katie works as the music director at Trinity and serves on the Women’s Ministry Committee. She also spends much of her time writing, playing piano, leading women’s Bible studies, and speaking to women’s groups about the joy she has found in Christ. Katie graduated from Covenant College with a BA in English Education and has served on the board of Covenant. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Theology from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. For more information, as well as various blog entries, you can visit her website at www.katiepolski.com